Famous for its mosques and mausoleums, Samarkand is one of the cities being visited by tourists. It is also the second largest city in the country. And since a lot of tourists come here every year, people can also communicate in English. Some popular tourist spots even have English explanations.
As one of the continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia, visiting Samarkand will teach you a lot about its rich history. So if you are wondering where to go and what to do in Samarkand, we have the list for you.
Things to do in Samarkand
Your trip to Samarkand is incomplete without going to Registan. Registan used to be the center of the ancient city of Samarkand during the era of the Timurid dynasty. This is a public square with Ulugh Beg Madrasa built in the 15th century and two other squares in the 17th century. The architecture is breathtaking and in the evening, it is lit up. Really worthy of the UNESCO heritage status. This is the perfect place to start and end your trip to Samarkand. Simply sit in the square and breathe it.
Recommended tour: Visit the city of Samarkand
This is one of the most beautiful sights in Samarkand. It is also one of the holiest religious sites. Women were asked to cover their heads and shoulders. It’s a great place to visit to get to know the history of people who gave their lives for a better country. The exterior of the mausoleum is gorgeous, many of the interiors and especially the beautiful domes. Colors will blow your soul, different types of blue are amazing. Get your camera ready as you are sure to get some of the best shots in your collection.
Recommended tour: Shahi Zinda – Admission ticket
3. Mausoleum of Gur Emir
This location is close to Registan Square and should be on your must-visit spots. It is a historical site where you can see even locals paying homage. The exterior is as beautiful as many of Samarkand’s blue-tiled buildings, but the inside is also stunning and a little different from all the gold decorations. The tomb is not a large complex, 15 minutes is enough to take a walk around the area. Except if you will stay a little longer to take great pictures.
Recommended tour: Visit the city of Samarkand
4. Bibi Khanym Mosque
It was built between 1399 and 1404, and it is one of the largest mosques in the Muslim world. However, the 1897 earthquake caused it to collapse. Bibi Khanym Mosque has restored beautiful tiled buildings and structures but it also has some areas that perhaps cannot be repaired. The beautiful tiles and the very detailed decoration are just amazing. This is one of the many historic sites to include in your itinerary. It is worth a look.
Recommended tour: Samarkand One Day Tour – Departing From Tashkent
5. Ulugh Beg Observatory
If you want to understand the history and culture of Central Asia, this is an important piece of the puzzle. There isn’t a lot of architecture to see here but you will learn a lot about history. There is a small museum on this site that has some interesting exhibits. Take the time to read the information in the museum so you can better understand the history of this place.
6. Central market
If you want herbs, fruits or nuts, you will find them all here. A big market with a nice atmosphere. The market is also partially shaded so it is easy to walk in the shade.
7. Ulugbek Madrasah
This is the oldest madrasah in the Regiatan complex. It dates back to the early 15th century. And it includes a hall and a mosque, in addition to the original student halls of residence. The towering gates are covered with mosaic designs. The interior is also gorgeous. There are many shops with merchandise and souvenir vendors located here.
Recommended tour: Samarkand Private Day Tour: Discover, Experience And Enjoy Like A Local
8. Tillya Kori Madrasah
This is the largest and most important madrasah of Registan Square. The interior and ceiling of Tillya Kori Madrasa are truly gorgeous. It includes Madrasah, Friday mosque and courtyard. There are several small rooms in the madrasah where artists work and sell souvenirs. An absolute must-have in Uzbekistan for anyone’s bucket list!
9. Sher Dor Madrasah
Sher Dor Madrasah is one of the three Muslim clerical institutions around Registan. And it is probably one of the most photographed buildings. The sun gods and the weird big cats on the portico are easy to spot. A must-see in Samarkand!
10. Happy Bird Art Gallery
The store is wonderfully decorated and offers beautiful garments designed by the store owner. It is located right near Furkat Hostel. You can find amazingly beautiful products inside. The stop here will be one of the highlights of your visit to Samarkand.
11. Mausoleum of Imam Bukhari
Imam Bukhari Mausoleum is located about 35 km from the city center. Here comes the greatest and most respected scholar of Islam, Imam Bukhari. The mausoleum is quiet, with very beautiful design and architecture. It’s big and the visit is like a trip to a very sacred place. A very peaceful complex with beautiful courtyards and prayer halls.
12. Museum of Regional Studies
The building belongs to a famous Jewish businessman and is now a very good museum with explanations in English. It is located in a respectable area with pleasant two-story houses and branded shops. One of tThe most interesting thing here is the restored interior of the front hall. And on the second floor, there is an exhibition dedicated to Samarkand Jews.
An interesting place for history lovers out there. This is the site of an ancient settlement. The museum is located on the territory of existing excavations. The era of the settlement dates back to the 4th century BC. Inside the museum you will find a lot of interesting things. The focus is on the restorer’s work to restore the fresco, depicting a certain period of time in its ancient state.
Recommended tour: Afrasiyab – Admission ticket
14. Tomb of St. Daniel
It is unlikely that there will be such a place in the world where a Muslim, Christian, and Jew come to pray. But there is such a place in Samarkand, this is where it happens. This is St. Daniel’s grave. This place is quite cozy, deserted despite the flow of people. A highly recommended place to visit. You can drink holy water and touch the old pistachio tree.
15. Hazrat Khizr Mosque
This is a beautiful place, with a great observation platform. The surrounding area is decorated with flowers and trees. Mausoleum was built in a meticulous manner. When you come here, remember that you must follow strict dress codes. Taking pictures inside is also forbidden, but from the height the mosque stands, you can panoramic city views.
Frequently Asked Questions about Samarkand, Uzbekistan
1. How much should the budget to visit Samarkand be?
Basically, the budget will depend on the time and type of travel you will take in Samarkand or in Uzbekistan in general. Food in Samarkand doesn’t cost much. Most expensive food you can get up to $ 10 to $ 25. And cheapest will be as little as $ 1 to $ 2 per meal. Regarding accommodation, if you do not mind staying in a dormitory, you will save a lot of money. Dorm beds only cost around $ 15 or less. For a good hotel you can get up to $ 20 to $ 30. For excursions and activities you can prepare as little as $ 2 to $ 3. However, some Attractions may require you to pay several times. Some even charge a fee for photography activities.
2. Is it safe to travel alone to Samarkand?
Uzbekistan is generally a safe country to visit including its cities like Samarkand. Very rarely do tourists have any bad experiences in the city. Even female tourists alone can feel safe wandering around the area.
3. Packing what?
Aside from basic necessities, just remember that as a female tourist, there are no dress codes to follow when wandering around the areas, however, conservative dressing is common here. . So don’t forget to bring your pants, a long-sleeved shirt and comfortable shoes. Some attractions like the mosque may ask you to wear conservative clothing.
4. When is the best time to visit Samarkand?
Best to visit Uzbekistan or Samarkand may be Spring and Fall. During these months, the weather is cool and dry. Summers can be very hot and you may experience some discomfort.
5. Do you have any advice or ask for tour operator on your own?
Traveling to Samarkand by taking a DIY trip is possible and can save you money. You will handle your time and explore the city on your own. However, you should also ask a tour operator if you want to dig deeper into famous mosques or attractions other than just admiring the architecture. For the best travel experience, please Guide Indy handles everything for you.
6. Are credit cards accepted?
Credit cards aren’t that common in Samarkand or in Uzbekistan in general. In addition to the high-end restaurants or hotels, cash is always used. If you carry credit cards, the visa card is accepted more often than the primary card. But having Som Uzbek is always the best option.
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